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President of BCCI says corruption in Belize has reached epidemic proportions

A year ago, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, BCCI, launched its anti-corruption campaign, demanding that the Government of Belize sign on to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC. Belize did so in December 2016, becoming the 184th country to sign on to the Convention. President of the BCCI, Nikita Usher spoke of the anti-corruption campaign during his speech at the opening ceremony of the Belize Expo Market Place this past weekend.

Nikita Usher – President of the BCCI

This was after lengthy discussions, careful planning and with the conviction that the state of corruption in Belize had reached an epidemic proportion. The chamber and other social partners felt that those with the responsibility, the authority and the opportunity to address the scourge were unwilling incapable or even involved or otherwise compromised. The role of a campaign aimed to eradicate corruption will always be perilous and fraught with danger because as we are seeing, as we are all seeing today there are powerful and entrenched forces that will not go down without a struggle. Knowing this but also recognizing the damage that corruption has done and is doing to our economy the chamber committed itself to a long term effort against corruption.”

Usher says that leaders must be chosen carefully.

Nikita Usher – President of BCCI

“The success of a nation depends on how well its development and growth priorities affect the views and the priority of the people. Development goals so established will be supported year by year regardless if there is a change in leadership. We waste much resources in recycling, reinventing, undoing or rebuilding; development should not be a political expediency it rather be the driving force in the national consciousness if we go about our daily lives pursuing our own dreams and aspiration. The foundation of individual thought, the foundation of private business, the foundation of public service must harmonize and resonate with the notes of the melody of our national anthem. Strong independent check and balances. To support carefully selected leaders, to support our strategic development objectives we need to implement strong independent check and balances. This must be the fundamental structure requirement within all public services, processes and institution. There can be no compromise on this. The short story of our young nation is full of long chapters of shame and corruption, deceit, greed and impunity. While the measure of good governance proclaims not the quality of our achievements but rather the comparative level of corruption we know that we are the bottom of the pit and that the narratives of failure and betrayal will continue if we don’t do something about it. Without strong checks and balances we will continue to be the nation with open wounds, we will continue to hemorrhage the blood of our people, endemic corruption will continue to affect the key organs of our society and blight the future of our children. We must demand such checks and balances as a matter of national urgency. We need it in our schools, in our churches, in the businesses, NGOs, the union and all other statutory bodies and it cannot only be the BCCI and other similar organizations that are looked upon to be the champion of such cause.”

Last week the Attorney General issued a release in which he highlighted what has been done so far to bring in conformity with the UNCAC.